Numark MixTrack Pro VS. American Audio VMS4
I know. I know. You’d rather click the ‘Congratulations!’ pop-up to try and win that free iPad than listen to me wax poetic on the advantages and disadvantages of two of the lowest-end controllers on the DJ market. I know! But hey, before you do, I should tell you – those ads are totally bogus. And this review just may be relevant after all.
Let me take the time to personalize it for you. I came up using the tables. Friends, there was once a day when I had more space than I knew what to do with. My tables, mixers, records, speakers, instruments, amps, and controllers lived in a sprawling basement fit for a DJ named King. But as I’m sure most of you have figured out, you can’t stay at mom and dad’s forever. Impressive and comfortable as it may be, it’s no place to bring a lady home at the end of the night, and it’s no place to make a name for oneself as a producer either. So I filled a U-Haul to the brim with all the gear I’d amassed over the years and set out across the country with my sights on New York (just like everybody else). I brought it all. And after about a month of arranging and rearranging, I was left with almost enough space to stand. Facing one way I could stand at my tables and mix. Facing the other way I could cook breakfast. A dream come true (for roughly five minutes).
DJ Downsize became my new project. I bought Serato. Started digitizing every record I brought (400 of about 2500 I left at home). But even then, it wasn’t comfortable. I grew to hate the fact that I’d made the switch to digital, was now inextricably tied to my laptop, which held all the music I once had to dig around for, and yet Serato still required me to plug in and stand at my tables if I wanted to try out an idea.
Around that time I started working with Virtual DJ. I could stay seated on my couch and quickly rifle through a whole set without having to move a muscle. If something didn’t work, I could scrap it. I could keep my Serato crates organized and still make changes. And the fact that I didn’t have to stand at the tables meant I wouldn’t have to suck in and stand on my tippy toes whenever one of my roommates wanted to use the kitchen. Glorious.
As I grew more comfortable using VDJ as a practice tool, the idea of using a controller began to make more and more sense. I didn’t readily admit it at the time, but it was an issue of practicality. If I could avoid having to stand at the tables, but still try out new ideas the way I’d gotten used to, I just might have it made, no?
So I picked up a Mixtrack Pro. I’m not going to exaggerate. It didn’t change my life. But it made practicing easier for me given the circumstances. I never intended to use it out. The humiliation! But I’ve ended up using it for a couple different gigs, and honestly, why would you ever want to lug around hundreds of pounds worth of gear when you don’t have to? Save the cab fare and get a gym membership if you’re into that sort of thing. I prefer my tables. I always will. But the Mixtrack Pro has saved me time and energy, no doubt.